First Hysterical Responses

First Hysterical Responses
Hysteria and Paranoia Seminar
Earl Jackson, Jr.
Spring 1997

Preliminary Communications


Hi Earl,

I wasn’t sure to which address you wanted these responses sent. If
you would prefer themacmail address let me know. This may also be a
little late, I was trying to decide what to write as a first impression,
but I couldn’t guess what would sound impressive, so this is my
response. I decided to summarize a portion of what we have read to see
if I have understood this properly. I was also interested in why
hysteria might occur at all. Please feel free to correct me if you see
anything that is incorrect.

The concept of dual consciousness seems to be an early form of the
division between the conscious and unconscious. The former is more
controllable than the latter. In the „Preliminary Communication“ they
refer to a „hypnoid“ which, I think, would be someone who demonstrates
this split of consciousness.

In the Case Study on Anna O., she refers to
her uncontrollable nights as the „bad girl.“ She has given a name to the
unconscious that becomes dominant in her hysterical state. In this way
Anna O. is a hypnoid. IN general Hysterical symptoms are outbursts of
the unconscious manifested in a physical form. A psychical trauma which the conscious cannot cope with, is delivered to the external by the unconscious.

Freud attempts to reach the unconscious during his treatments of
patients through hypnosis and „pressure on the forehead“ both of which
reproduce the „bad girl“ state in Anna O. The point of attempting to
reach the unconscious is to assist the analysand in cathexis, or the
release of the psychical trauma through recoginition of the memory.

person could not reach this point on their own, so they call to the
analysist for help. Yet, how does an experience become a psychical
trauma? Through repression of this experience, usually because the
thought or experience does not coincide with the person’s moral
structure. They feel guilty about the thought and therefore repress it.

Women would be more likely to be hysterical because their moral standards
are socialized to be more strict than men’s (in the late 1800’s and
today). Women are supposed to be dutiful, obedient, suppress their
sexuality (unless it serves a man’s purpose), and they should not be
intellectual. It is precisely the women who meet these standards who
become hysterical. These moral standards do not adhere to the drives of
a human.

Women do have intellect and sexuality, and if repressed, these
tendencies will arise in uncontrollable, physical manifestations. Anna O. was hysterical because of this suppression of her intellectual self, and
only escaped this hysteria when she was able to actualize her
intellectual self. Of course she was not adhering to the moral standards
for women, yet she was fulfilling her desires and self-appointed duties.

I wonder why women are not hysterical in this century, woman’s sexuality
and intellectual abilities are constantly scrutinized and considered
inappropriate even today?

If anything seems inconsistent, please let me know. I needed to
synthesize class and the reading for my own understanding. I hope this
is appropriate.



Regress to STUDENT TWO Response.
Advance to STUDENT FOUR Response